Greyhound Racing NSW senior management knew as early as 2009 about its trainers live animal baiting practices, the Commissioner of an inquiry into the industry has said.
Internal documents seen by the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into greyhound racing show “damming” evidence of the body’s knowledge, according to Commissioner Michael McHugh QC.
The Australian reported Mr McHugh said GRNSW made no effective crackdown on the practice until a Four Corners investigation aired earlier this year – some five-and-a-half years before it allegedly knew.
GRNSW’s documents repeatedly reference “traditional training methods” including live baiting, using rabbits and other animals.
This was described as a “critical” issue which had to be addressed, reported The Australian.
However, despite being directed to the documents, former GRNSW chief executive Brent Hogan on Thursday denied he knew live baiting was a big problem.
Mr Hogan resigned after the Four Corners documentary aired.
“During that time there was no evidence … that this was the tip of a bigger problem,” Mr Hogan said.
Counsel assisting the commission Stephen Rushton SC pointed Mr Hogan to documents from GRNSW senior managers, including board papers, from September 2009 which mentioned live baiting and how it needed to be stopped.
Mr Hogan said he did not believe this explicitly meant the practice was continuing.
But rather it “was one worthy of mention in the context of being a serious criminal offence,” The Australian reported.